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Burning Snail, The (brennende Schlange, Die)

Burning Snail, The

The film's action centres on the 14-year-old Peter who lives alone with his mother. Peter, who is currently in the difficult phase of self-discovery, has focused all his longings on his mother. Her own unsatisfied longings mean that she is incapable of reacting accordingly to the needs of her child. Instead, she puts up a barrier without even being aware that she's doing it. Peter makes contact with a radical youth gang in his class. They are all children from the upper class. Peter's attention is directed to Axel, the gang leader, who similarly treats him as coldly as Peter's mother does. His mother becomes acquainted with a young man and, for a while, it looks as if this man has appeared in Peter's life at just the right time to help him in his self-discovery. The mother's longings are so great, though, that she takes up all of the man's time for herself and ignores Peter even more. Peter gets increasingly involved in the brutal activities of his gang and lets himself be manoeuvred into a dangerous rival position by the gang leader. Slowly but surely, Peter slips away from reality and heads for a fateful conclusion.


Thomas Stiller was born in 1961. After studying Acting in New York at the HB Studio and Actors Studio, he appeared in various plays and TV films. Also active as a screenwriter, a selection of his films includes: THE BURNING SNAIL (1995), STILLE NACHT, HEILIGE NACHT (1999), THE GREAT-GRANDSON OF THE MAN WHO DRANK A COW (2000), DIE WUNDE (2001), DER JUNGE OHNE EIGENSCHAFTEN (2005), 12 WINTER (2008), GENUG IST NICHT GENUG (2009), SIE HAT ES VERDIENT (2010), and THE SKIN OF THE OTHERS (2016).
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 1995
Director Thomas Stiller
Screenplay Thomas Stiller
Cinematography Frank Griebe
Petar Markovic
Stefan Rager, Lars von Mars
Cast Sebastian Koch, Max Haas, Barbara Auer, Tobias Nath, Jonas Kipp, Michael Huml
Producer Jost Hering
Production Company Jost Hering Filme/Berlin, in co-production with WDR, MDR, SWF, Stuttgart
Length 82 min
Format 35 mm, color
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Version English
Sound Technology Mono
Sound Technology Mono, Optical
Festivals Montreal 1995, Moscow 1995, Potsdam 1995

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